I'll start with this one, which was part of my response to reijene about what exactly Roh Moohyun is supposed to have done wrong. That answer took me back into the Time Magazine archives, which prompted me now to revive an old tradition here at Monster Island, printing old news and personal interest stories from the past.
Roh Moohyun is being investigated for at least $6 worth of corruption, which underscores the glaring hypocrisy of this man who promised to be the candidate of clean politics. That hypocrisy is his biggest failure, as his crime appears to be far less than that of his predecessors, who themselves ended up pardoned after short stays in prison.
[above: Disgraced former ROK presidents Chun Doo-hwan (전두환), in foreground at right, and Roh Tae-woo (노태우), in foreground in middle, on trial in 1995 for treason and corruption. (click photo for source)]
Hence the archive piece from 1995, during the Kim Youngsam administration:
Inside a packed Seoul courtroom, former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo took the stand Monday to answer charges that he accepted $369 million in kickbacks from businesses while in office. Roh admitted that he took money from chaebol, the group of 40 or so huge industrial conglomerates that dominate South Korea's economy, but said that he did not sell his influence to private interests. Roh said he received $32 million from Samsung, the nation's biggest conglomerate, but maintained he could not remember who gave him all the money he received while in office. The trial is expected to rock South Korean politics, not only bringing down some top politicians connected to Roh, but also casting the leaders of the country's largest businesses under a cloud of corruption. So far, executives from 36 firms have been questioned by prosecutors, and several are likely to face arrest. If convicted, the 63-year old former president could face life inprisonment.As I mentioned here, Roh Moohyun's corruption will be noted for its hypocrisy, not its severity. Roh admitted fault and would likely have been convicted and sentenced to prison, but eventually pardoned and released, like his predecessors whose crimes were far worse (as far as we know).
[above: Seven years later, former South Korean presidents Kim Daejung (김대중), Kim Youngsam (김영삼), Roh Tae-woo (노태우), and Chun Doo-hwan (전두환) greet each other at Roh Moohyun's inauguration, February 25, 2003. (click photo for source)]
Democracies generally don't like putting former heads-of-state in jail. Even though, arguably, people like Nixon, George W. Bush, and especially Cheney all deserve(d) to be there. Nixon, eventually, became something of an elder statesman.